Celebrating global conservation efforts on World Rhino Day

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Saving rhinos in Africa requires a multidimensional strategy, where private game reserves and national parks work together and anti-poaching efforts are combined with awareness campaigns. So said Joe Cloete, CEO of Shamwari Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.

World Rhino Day aims to raise awareness of all five rhino species in the world and the work being done to protect them.
Photo: FW Archive

“This is not a new approach, but one that needs to be developed and expanded. It is something [conservationist] General Johan Jooste did this in Kruger National Park [by integrating] Anti-poaching efforts with those of nearby private reserves.

“He understood the need for awareness campaigns to win the surrounding communities over to his side and challenged the myths that created demand for rhino horn,” Cloete said in a statement.

On the eve of World Rhino Day, celebrated internationally on September 22 by rhino experts and advocates around the world, he said the approach has been tried and tested in Kruger National Park and is being rolled out in other regions as well .

Shamwari cooperated with all surrounding reserves including Addo Elephant National Park by sharing information and expertise.

In addition, the reservation also focused on community work by conducting outreach programs.

According to the International Rhino Foundation, World Rhino Day was a day dedicated to raising awareness of all five rhino species in the world and the work being done to ‘save’ them.

According to Cloete, the goal of the community effort at Shamwari was to educate the public that a live rhino is an asset that “continues to bring employment and income to the region.”

This was of paramount importance because “a rhino killed for its horn brings little, if any, benefit to the surrounding communities.

“An intensive, concerted international, science-based campaign involving governments and global conservation NGOs is needed to debunk the fiction surrounding rhino horn,” added Cloete.

According to the latest statistics from the African Rhino Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the total number of critically endangered black rhinos in Africa increased by 3% annually to 6,200 animals between 2018 and 2021.

However, white rhino numbers continued to decline at around 3.1% per year, and at the end of 2021 there were just under 16,000 animals left. According to the latest statistics, the total estimated rhino population in Africa was almost 22,140 at the end of 2021.

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